Cricket

Hyderabad staring down the barrel

Advisor: Hyderabad bowling coach N.P. Singh, second left, shares a few tips with the pace trio of C.V. Milind, Ravi Kiran and T. Ravi Teja on Sunday.

Advisor: Hyderabad bowling coach N.P. Singh, second left, shares a few tips with the pace trio of C.V. Milind, Ravi Kiran and T. Ravi Teja on Sunday.  

Rajasthan slightly better off and will look to Menaria to deliver

In what is fast turning out to be a season of despair, Hyderabad needs to change gears as it is now a struggle for survival when it takes on Rajasthan in a four-day Ranji Trophy Elite Group clash at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Monday.

The home team — with just one win (against Kerala) and five losses from six games — is at the bottom of the table with six points and captain Tanmay Agarwal should be looking for some kind of team effort.

Coach N. Arjun Yadav says they are clearly playing for pride now and the primary objective against Rajasthan is to take the first innings lead. “We are down but not out,” he said hoping for a stand-out performance at least in the last couple of games.

Nothing to rave about

In batting with the exception of wicketkeeper-batsman K. Sumanth, captain Tanmay Agarwal and Jaweed Ali there was nothing much to rave about in the last two games.

The combined failure of the experienced duo of B. Sandeep (four matches, 41 runs) and seasoned opener P. Akashth Reddy (six matches, 172 runs) has cost Hyderabad this season.

In bowling, though pacers Ravi Kiran (18) and Mohd Siraj (17) — the latter now on India-A duty in New Zealand — were amongst wickets they never really ran through the opposition. And all-rounder T. Ravi Teja in three matches looked a better batter — 189 runs — than a bowler — three wickets.

No strike bowlers

Off-spinner Saaketh Sai Ram (four wickets in three) and Mehdi Hassan (14 wickets in six) never looked like strike bowlers. Interestingly, leg-spinner Akash Bhandari has been drafted into the squad for this match.

Meanwhile, Rajasthan — 10 points from five matches — will look up to its experienced captain, all-rounder Ashok Menaria, once again. He is its lead scorer this season with 440 and the only one to score a century. The team will also pin hopes on Rajesh Bishnoi, Mahipal Lomror, and opener Yash Kothari to come to good with the bat.

Rajasthan owed its solitary win — against Kerala in the last game — to left-arm spinner Shubham Sharma, who picked up 11 wickets. But, the focus will be on experienced pacer Rituraj Singh and left-armer Tanveer-ul-Haq to get the early breakthroughs on a pitch which is expected to play true.

The teams (from): Hyderabad: Tanmay Agarwal (capt), P. Akshath Reddy, B. Sandeep, Javeed Aliu, Saaketh Sairam, Rahul Buddi, K. Sumanth, Mehdi Hassan, T. Ravi Teja, C.V. Milind, Himalay Agarwal, J. Mallikarjun, Ajay Dev Goud and Akash Bhandari.

Rajasthan: Ashok Menaria (capt), Yash Kothari, Mahipal Lomror, Aniket Choudhary, Manendra Singh, Ram Niwas Golara, Rajesh Bishnoi Sr, Rituraj Singh, Arjit Gupta, Aditya Garhwal, C.P. Singh, Tanveer-ul-Haq, Arafat Khan, Salman Khan and Shubham Sharma.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 8:47:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/hyderabad-starring-down-the-barrel/article30658242.ece

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